Dina Wadia: The Dear Departed

Remembering the daughter of Qauid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Dina Wadia the only child of Mohammad Ali Jinnah passed away on 2nd November at the age of 98.  In the wake of the news report of Dina’s death she was instantly remembered with fondness by Pakistani media. It is obviously true that we don’t value people when they are alive but rather feel sad after they are dead. Dina during her lifetime visited Pakistan only a few times her last visit was in 2004 during Musharraf’s era. Dina in an interview to Andrew Whitehead revealed that she was invited repeatedly by Benazir Bhutto and other successive governments but she had been refusing to come to Pakistan.  The Pakistani public for the most part has very less information regarding Jinnah’s daughter as she remained away from public attention. Dina was born in England on the night between 14th and 15th August 1919 in London and was raised by Mr. Jinnah after the death of his wife Ratti at the age of 28. Mr. Jinnah had great affection for his only daughter Dina. However they both had a rift in their relationship for some time owing to Dina’s marriage to Neville Wadia a Parsi Businessman. Dina and Neville lived in Mumbai after their marriage and had two children but unfortunately the marriage ended in divorce.

According to Dina’s interview she considered Bombay her city however she spent most part of her life in London and New York. Ms. Dina on her visit to Pakistan visited Quaid’s mausoleum and wrote in the visitor’s book “This has been very sad and wonderful for me. May his (Jinnah’s) dream come true.”

Some less Known facts about Dina Wadia are as follows.

  • Jinnah objected Dina’s decision to marry Neville Wadia therefore she initially moved to her Grandmother Dinbai Petit’s house.
  • Jinnah on his return from England built a palatial mansion South Court also known as Jinnah house. The large house located in Malabar Bombay was designed by architect Claude Batley and was built at a cost of Rs. 2 lakh in 1936.
  • Jinnah house was leased to the British Deputy High Commission in 1948 and remained occupied till 1982.
  • The house was ultimately taken over by the Indian government owing to Bombay Evacuee Property Act.
  • In 2007 Ms. Dina Wadia petitioned to the Mumbai High Court that her childhood home (Jinnah house) be handed over to her as she was the rightful heir to Mr. Jinnah. Dina in her petition also asserted that the house could not be categorized as evacuee property since her father died without a will.
  • In October 2007 the Indian government signed an affidavit which stated that Jinnah house is the property of the government only Ms. Fatima Jinnah could claim it as Mr. Jinnah had bequeathed the house to his sister Ms. Fatima Jinnah by his will on 30th May 1939.
  • Dina Wadia died with her unfulfilled desire of spending her final years in Jinnah House Mumbai.

 Ms.Dina would always be remembered with respect and fondness for being the daughter of the Pakistan’s founder Mr.  Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Though the Pakistani nation has never been well acquainted with Dina Wadia she will always remain alive in our hearts.

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